The 8 Most Luxurious Wellness Retreats in Southern California


Healthy living is akin to religion in sun-kissed Southern California. Before spa retreats became chic, and before wellness became a billion-dollar buzzword, SoCal was already the it spot for those seeking a novel approach to mind-body balance. Forget goop and consider instead the OG of SoCal wellness: Golden Door, a health spa in North County San Diego that was founded in 1958. Nevertheless, “woo woo” wellness in the area really started to become popular during the late ’70s. Whether looking to realign chakras, hit personal fitness goals, or enjoy traditional beauty treatments, these eight luxurious wellness retreats in Southern California are sure to help you find your reset button.

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Credit: Taylor Odish

Founded 65 years ago as a health retreat for Hollywood starlets, Golden Door is the original California wellness destination spa. Tucked away in the hills of San Marcos, this exclusive 600-acre getaway is home to just 40 guests per program—all who come to take a mental wellness break, drop pounds or get pampered during dedicated coed, women’s and men’s weeks. Japanese gardens are dotted with koi ponds, bamboo forests and Ryokan-style rooms with private meditation areas. Guests even wear matching kimonos to dinner each night. A weeklong stay includes access to various fitness classes (yes, they have pickleball) and spa treatments (try a traditional Ayurvedic massage), as well as salon services and bodywork sessions. Food is a big part of the Golden Door experience, with meals that are created from ingredients sourced from an on-site biodynamic farm. And walk away feeling good about it— Golden Door gives back 100% of net profits to select charities.

Location: San Marcos


Luxurious Wellness Retreats in Southern California
Credit: Natalie Truglia

If you want a challenging and transformative fitness experience—one where you will adopt healthy new habits and perhaps lose those few stubborn pounds—consider The Ranch Malibu. Set on a 200-acre working ranch in the Santa Monica Mountains, tailored group programming attracts high-powered Hollywood elites and movie stars alike. Wake up to four-hour morning hikes, low-impact exercise classes and a 1,400-calorie-per-day, plant-based diet. Beautifully appointed cottages feature reclaimed wood floors and linen-dressed beds. And with a limit of 25 guests every week, the vibe is super intimate. Spend downtime lounging by the pool or take a stroll in the organic garden. Find comfort in anonymity: The ranch has a strict no photography policy. Just be prepared to give up certain vices during your seven-day program—caffeine and alcohol are verboten, Wi-Fi is limited to your room and snacks are lean and limited (like their signature: precisely six almonds). But trust us, the results are worth it.

Location: Malibu



Credit: Stephanie Pia

When it first opened in 1940, Two Bunch Palms was a hush-hush hangout in Desert Hot Springs—a veritable magnet for Hollywood darlings and mobsters. In fact, the property was once Al Capone’s West Coast hideout. Today, its mineral-rich waters, desert gardens and tranquil atmosphere draw bohemian types to the grotto. Soak in the pool and private tubs, then ease into a stellar spa treatment (we recommend the Good Herb CBD wrap). For a splurge, book the Capone Suite, but for direct grotto access, the Spring Rooms are great. And don’t miss the weekly schedule of free guest programs, which feature Tarot card readings, slow flow yoga and breathwork sessions. It’s such a beautiful property that you’ll want to maximize time here by staying on-site. Dine at Twine, the SoCal-inspired, veg-forward restaurant, and bring your own snacks since the rooms are outfitted with mini fridges. 

Location: Desert Hot Springs


Luxurious Wellness Retreats in Southern California
Credit: Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa

Located in the ritzy residential enclave of Rancho Santa Fe, 25 miles north of downtown San Diego, Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa was named the best hotel in California and ranked the fourth-best hotel on the national list by U.S. News & World Report in 2023. Within the luxurious Spanish Colonial-style retreat are 49 hacienda-style Casita suites, each with private patios that overlook the resort’s lush grounds. Ease into the day with a newspaper and fresh-squeezed orange juice (delivered to your room each morning) before heading over to the Serenity Yoga Pavilion for a deep stretch or flow class. Fitness offerings are plentiful—there’s a movement studio for boxing classes or space to work with a personal trainer—while the 53-page spa brochure offers everything from microcurrent facials to wellness rituals. Next, reserve a private cabana at The Paddock resort pool and enjoy a leisurely late-afternoon lunch.

Location: Rancho Santa Fe


Credit: Chris Simpson

Larry Ellison’s converted Rancho Mirage estate caters to a wide range of personal needs, all with relaxation and nutrition in mind. You can train with a tennis or golf pro or lean into a tailor-made guided journey during your time at the all-new Sensei Porcupine Creek. Set in a secluded corner of the Santa Rosa Mountains, the resort is spread across 230 beautifully manicured acres that feature sculptures by Keith Haring and other artists. Upon arrival, you’ll be matched with a personal Sensei guide and expert practitioners who will curate custom itineraries for three- or five-day journeys. There’s even a month-long sabbatical should your schedule and budget allow. With handsomely appointed Japanese-inspired rooms and villas, a lagoon-style pool, a yoga pavilion and a guests-only Nobu restaurant, can you imagine a more serene place to replenish yourself? The estate is even outfitted to monitor sleep data, which is another way to help achieve your wellness goals.

Location: Rancho Mirage


Credit: Austin John

Anke Bodack had a decade-long dream: to turn her 1950s Encinitas home into a soulful solar-powered mini hotel and yoga space. Just minutes from surfing mecca Swami’s Beach, Twelve Senses Retreat is a thoughtfully designed space and a study in mindful minimalism—a true testament to natural and recycled materials. Rooms are inspired by the four elements—earth, air, fire and water—a concept she connects to the zodiac and lunar calendar. Comfort here is key: Each room features an Ethnicraft mattress, a Nest thermostat and a Duravit rain shower. The Twelve Senses Studio hosts weekly yoga classes and a sound bath meditation session. You can also book on-site massages and vegan nail treatments as well as more specialized therapies like Integrative Energy Therapy (IET). While you won’t find an on-site restaurant, guests can enjoy a healthy breakfast and sundown beverages (either cocktails or mocktails) on the lovely rooftop deck.

Location: Encinitas


Surrounded by vineyards and lavender fields, chateau-chic wellness retreat Cal-a-Vie Health Spa could easily be in the South of France, and yet it is located just 45 miles north of San Diego. The spa is best known for its three-, four- or seven-day transformative wellness programs that are designed for fitness, nutrition and mind-body awareness. To get an idea of how accommodating this place is: the spa boasts a 5-to-1 staff-to-guest ratio. And while prices might be steep (La Petite Packages start at $5,750), we’re not the only ones who think it’s worth the splurge. Celebrity devotees are said to include Julia Roberts and Oprah Winfrey. Some of the offerings include multiple spa sessions, unlimited fitness classes, cooking demos, nutrition lectures, three daily meals made with ingredients from the on-site organic garden and round-trip transfers from San Diego airport. Accommodations are luxurious—think spacious private villas, each decorated with French antiques and host to stunning views of the surrounding mountains, while yoga and meditation classes are held in a 400-year-old French chapel that was imported from Dijon. 

Location: Vista



Southern California Staycation
Credit: Ojai Valley Inn

Ojai, a tiny town in Ventura County, is famous for its otherworldly energy (we’re talking calming vortexes and nouveau hippie vibes), making it the ideal home for the Ojai Valley Inn, a lovely Mediterranean-style estate and Spanish revival hotel. With a focus on spiritual wellness, Spa Ojai boasts extensive programming. It would be easy to fill a week with property walks and yoga classes, including one set to music by The Beatles. Bookend your days with spa treatments, like the orange blossom and honey wrap. And for a deep dive into self-discovery, schedule a session with goop-approved spiritual counselor Nancy Furst or a crystal energy healing and chakra clearing with Reiki master Katie Manzella. To explore your creative visionary side, attend a workshop at the Artist Cottage and Apothecary, where they offer candle-making and mandala painting. You can also create your own masterpiece with a paint-by-numbers kit.

Location: Ojai




Keri Bridgwater is a freelance writer covering travel and lifestyle. Her work has been featured in Fodor’s Travel, Marie Claire, Matador Network and InsideHook, among other outlets and publications.


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